This film has been uploaded to IA several times, with the unfortunate result that comments and reviews are spread over several details pages. Most of them can be found here
. I found them only because I didn't want to download the 2.5 Gig MPEG2 file to get the higher video resolution.
This is a character-driven, emotion-ladened story. Unlike plot-driven stories, it is not filled with action. Lovers of "B" shoot-em-up Westerns and gangster films, car chase scenes, and other stories where what the characters do is more important than who they are, probably won't like it. In character-driven stories, the focus is on who the characters are, how they respond to their lives, and how they change as a result. Some stories strike a balance between plot and characterizations; this one is entirely about the characters.
This is the story of a failed marriage between two well-meaning people of above-average integrity. Families, with all the eccentricities of their members, are crucibles of intense emotion. This film tells that story like it really is, complete with the love, ambitions, rivalries, jealousies, vindictiveness, doubts (of self and others), mistakes, frustrations, self-castigation, and all the rest of it. The characters are definitely not caricatures or two-dimensional cardboard cut-outs, they are real people who really want to make their family succeed, but fall down because they do not fully understand their own needs and motivations, or each other's. It has been said that "you always hurt the ones you love"; this film shows in excruciating detail just how, if not exactly why.
Under the stress of intense emotions, people will often do some very bizarre things. For that reason, there was nothing in this film that stretched my credulity, including the rain scene that another reviewer dismissed (clue: it wasn't the rain that had that affect). In may respects, this film downplayed what really happens in families that are in the process of ripping themselves apart.
Though usually panned as "boring" by lovers of plot-driven stories, character-driven ones somehow stand the test of time, as has this one. They are a tremendous challenge to write and to portray well, and the cast in this film rise to the occasion. For those who understand the unspoken language of posture, demeanor, facial expressions and vocal intonation, the story subtext is made very clear.
When all those elements are added to MGM's high production values and a well-preserved Technicolor print, this makes for a film of rare and outstanding quality. But don't watch it if you hate emotional things because, love it or hate it, it will surely hit you where you live.